NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20080009785: Lunar Dust and Lunar Simulant Activation and Monitoring
Publication date 2008-02-04
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), LUNAR DUST, LUNAR MODULE, SURFACE PROPERTIES, ELECTRON PARAMAGNETIC RESONANCE, EXTRAVEHICULAR ACTIVITY, ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION, SPACE MISSIONS, Wallace, W. T., Hammond, D. K., Jeevarajan, A. S.,
Prior to returning to the moon, understanding the effects of lunar dust on both human physiology and mechanical equipment is a pressing concern, as problems related to lunar dust during the Apollo missions have been well documented (J.R. Gaier, The Effects of Lunar Dust on EVA Systems During the Apollo Missions. 2005, NASA-Glenn Research Center. p. 65). While efforts were made to remove the dust before reentering the lunar module, via brushing of the suits or vacuuming, a significant amount of dust was returned to the spacecraft, causing various problems. For instance, astronaut Harrison Schmitt complained of hay fever effects caused by the dust, and the abrasive nature of the material was found to cause problems with various joints and seals of the spacecraft and suits. It is clear that, in order to avoid potential health and performance problems while on the lunar surface, the reactive properties of lunar dust must be quenched. It is likely that soil on the lunar surface is in an activated form, i.e. capable of producing oxygen-based radicals in a humidified air environment, due to constant exposure to meteorite impacts, UV radiation, and elements of the solar wind. An activated silica surface serves as a good example. An oxygen-based radical species arises from the breaking of Si-OSi bonds. This system is comparable to that expected for the lunar dust system due to the large amounts of agglutinic glass and silicate vapor deposits present in lunar soil. Unfortunately, exposure to the Earth s atmosphere has passivated the active species on lunar dust, leading to efforts to reactivate the dust in order to understand the true effects that will be experienced by astronauts and equipment on the moon. Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy is commonly used for the study of radical species, and has been used previously to study silicon- and oxygen-based radicals, as well as the hydroxyl radicals produced by these species in solution (V. Vallyathan, et al., Am. Rev. Respir. Dis. 138 (1988) 1213-1219). The size and cost of these instruments makes them unattractive for the monitoring of lunar dust activity. A more suitable technique is based on the change in fluorescence of a molecule upon reaction with a hydroxyl radical (or other radical species). Fluorescence instruments are much less costly and bulky than ESR spectrometers, and small fluorescence sensors for space missions have already been developed (F. Gao, et al., J. Biomed. Opt. 10 (2005) 054005). For the current fluorescence studies, the terephthalate molecule has been chosen for monitoring the production of hydroxyl radicals in solution. As shown in Scheme 1, the reaction between the non-fluorescent terephthalate molecule and a hydroxyl radical produces the highly-fluorescent 2-hydroxyterephthalate molecule.
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